Thursday, August 19, 2021

WoAF - Game Session 23

Moon Princess Ling
Meanwhile, on the moon ... the heroes of the Silver Eye mission were standing in the cold gray cliff-side hall that overlooked the Aristarchus crater.  They'd been captured by the Moon Men, and would have likely perished were it not for the swift and decisive actions of Moon Princess, Ling.  She was one of the two survivors of the first moon mission.  The Moon Men, a race of aliens known as the Modroni, were persuaded to save her by a fluke of Quantum Consciousness.  In a flash they perceived that she would somehow be important to their future, and the success of their mission. So instead of allowing her and her crew mate, Vallnum, to perish on the cold wastes of the moon, they took the two in, and housed and fed them, and began to teach them their ways.  

All communication was done telepathically, so there was no need for them to learn each other's languages.  After a time, Ling, an accomplished Mentarian, discovered, again by the agency of Quantum Consciousness, that the Modroni were currently leaderless, and drifting.  She understood in a flash the vastness and great urgency of their mission, and so she volunteered to lead them.  And this was accepted by them, for they desperately needed a leader.  Moon men are fabulous scientists and observers, but only their Leader class is able to make decisions of any import, and when their leader vanished without a trace while on a mission to Goblin to investigate a mystery there, they were left bereft, and their mission began to fail.  Once Ling took the office of Leader they immediately began to process their work effectively again, and so their mission was able to continue.  Vallnum and she spent their time studying the ways of the Modroni, their powers, and their science.  It was the most thrilling and fascinating experience they'd ever had.

This lasted for six months.  Then, one day Federation Command, the last known surviving civilization on Earth after the Ultra-War, sent up another rocket to the moon.  This was the ill-fated Silver Eye II mission, whose purpose was to find out what happened to the first mission.  They were also captured by the Modroni, though one member of their crew, Pita Tocristor, managed to make it back to Earth safely as he was stationed in the orbital platform during the ground based operation.  The other members were Bruin Hilda IV and Jacob Grant, and they found themselves in the Modroni quarters discussing their future with Ling and Vallnum.

"You can not leave the Moon," Ling was saying.  

"But we want to go back to Earth," stated Jacob flatly.  

"That is not an option," repeated Ling.  "You must understand, the Modroni will not let you return to Earth.  They are the single most secretive race you can possibly imagine.  Their presence here on the moon must remain an absolute secret.  They are not bad people, but their mission requires absolute secrecy.  They are scientists and observers.  Once in a long while, every few hundred years or so, they may entertain an Earthling or two in order to learn more about the human race, which has been a scientific curiosity of theirs for a long time.  In fact, however, humanity is not their concern at all.  They have been here for half a million years observing the rim of the galaxy from this very convenient location.  Their interest in humanity is purely off-mission.  But we, apparently, are a curious people, and they have some interest in our doings.  So they constructed this underground habitat, complete with housing, an underground Agroponics facility for farming, and other useful amenities.  We are allowed to roam freely within the habitat, and best of all, they are perfectly happy to teach us whatever we wish to learn about their science.  They are fantastic scientists.  Of course it takes a great deal of work to learn from them.  They are highly advanced, and our current level of knowledge is pitifully low.  So the learning is slow, but steady.  I guarantee, you won't get bored with it.  It's fascinating."

"But we want to go back to Earth," repeated Jacob flatly.

Bruin Hilda was inclined to agree, but she saw the futility of that demand, and so had resigned herself to learning whatever it was that the Modroni had to teach.  Her interest was in the peculiar mental powers of the Modroni, and their focus on stealth.  She spent most of her time acquiring a particular skill known as "Blending".  It allowed her to blend into a scene so successfully that she could move, albeit slowly, through an environment without being noticed by anything.  It was part physical, and part mental projection that did the trick.  

Vallnum, on the other hand had been there with Ling for six months thus far.  He was not particularly interested in science.  In fact, he was there for purely spiritual reasons.  He had, while roving the western desert as a younger man, had a dream of Ling on the Moon.  He called her Moon Princess in his dream, and she beckoned him. Ever since then he felt the desire to somehow, some way, get himself to the moon to meet "the Moon Princess" of his dreams.  And so when he found out that the Federation Command was launching a mission to the moon, he joined the operation, using his mental powers to insinuate himself into the Silver Eye I Team and secure a position as co-Pilot.  No one knew of his dreams, or his ambition to join Moon Princess and serve her with love and devotion as her Knight-Warlock.  Only he knew.  And so that is what he did.  Faithful to his cause, he stayed with her, learned with her, and helped her in any and every way that he could.  And she appreciated it very much.  He was a good companion, and good friend.

The young heroes were sipping tea in the main hall overlooking the stark black and gray of the Aristarchus crater through the one-way window when Ling stood up. She seemed to fall into a trance for a few moments, and then announced that her sister was in danger.  She reached out telepathically to her companions informing them of what she had just experienced.  

In all, she told a brief but frightening tale of a gigantic 50' tall brain hovering above a road in the desert.  In a moment it had blasted holes through the three Mind Shields of the Mentarians aboard their craft, knocking them all unconscious, and then taking complete control of the minds of the remaining crew.  All but one was entirely converted to the brain's cause.  Linda, the Moon Princess' sister, was among the three Mentarians aboard.  What the brain intended to do with them was unknown.  The last she saw the remaining crew were piloting themselves to the brain's scientific facility in the center of an enormous salt flat.

"We must rescue her," she said flatly, as if that were somehow possible, and could be done without issue.  But they were all trapped as "guests" of the Modroni.  There was no way that they knew of to leave the Moon.  

It was a difficult situation. On the one hand they could risk telling the Modroni of Princess Ling's need to save her sister and friends from the Giant Brain.  But the Modroni might not be willing to let them leave, as that bizarre alien race's need for secrecy was absolute, and the members of the team had already met and learned about them.  Hence, it was the case, as Ling repeated, none of them could ever leave the moon again.  And she, as the Leader of the Modroni was obligated to ensure that.

But this was an entirely new situation.  She had to let them leave, and she had to either trick the Modroni, or convince them of the rightness of her purpose... one that overrode their own incredible plans.  But still, nothing was yet decided.  The team conversed on.  They did so via a secret telepathic link between Ling's mind and theirs.  It the only way they could communicate without the Modroni being able to listen in.

They discussed the various options.  Jacob recommended that they attack and overpower the Modroni, but that still left them stranded on the Moon.  He then suggested convincing the Modroni to attack Brain V by telling them that his power would rival theirs, and that ultimately Brian V would be a threat to their own safety and security.  This seemed plausible, but left too many dead ends.  And it would also not solve the problem of rescuing Linda.  

Ling revealed one of the Modroni secrets at this point.  They have their own space ships.  Ultra fast ships that could span the galaxy at speeds humanity would find unimaginable with their primitive technology.  Ships designed to be undetectable on every wavelength and frequency.  Invisible and fast.  However, the ships lacked any weapons at all.  And if it came to battle, their ship would easily be destroyed, if it could be caught, and if its layers of multi-dimensional armor could be pierced.  That, in fact, would not be easy, so the Modroni ships, while entirely defensive, are fabulously so.  The idea was put forth that perhaps they should tell the Modroni about Linda, and appeal to them to lend the team one of their ships.  Or, conversely, to steal one of the Modroni ships and fly it back to Earth on the hopes that the Modroni wouldn't blast them to oblivion on route for doing so.  

On the other hand, as they soon learned, there were on the northern reaches of the moon, the a battalion of Nazis hiding out as they had been since 1942.  They too, as the Modroni well knew, had a small fleet of fast ships.  Not nearly as fast as the Modroni's but certainly far faster than anything their Earthly brethren had ever managed to come up with.  Theirs were the proverbial UFOs.  Saucer shaped space ships that could dart around at fantastic speeds and pivot direction on a dime.  The idea was pitched that perhaps they should not mention anything to the Modroni, who might veto the entire operation, but instead sneak off and raid the Nazi base, steal one of their ships and make their way back to earth.  As it happened, the UFOs not only were well armored, but had an been built with warfare in mind, and so had an arsenal of weapons to boot.

Three possible plans on how to get to Earth.  Then once there, they needed to figure out what they would do about Brian V, and how exactly they would rescue Linda Brisbane, and the other members of the Black Wind V team that had been overwhelmed by Brain V's mental powers.

There seemed to be two options put forth.  One was to attack immediately and attempt to rescue the team by destroying whatever Advanced Mechs Brain V might throw at them, and then dash away with their friends.  Another plan involved a stealthy infiltration while Brain V takes his nightly rest, and hope to sneak off with their friends under the cover of mental shields.

These plans were all debated hotly for 15 minutes, when Ling announced that the Modroni were on their way to their chamber.  They would have to decide then and there.  And so they did.

Ling, the leader of the Modroni, explained in plain language what she saw happen on Earth some 20 minutes earlier.  She requested that the Modroni help her to rescue her sister.  She explained that the giant brain on earth could indeed be a threat to the Modroni over time, as it's powers were quite peerless, and could even rival that of the Modroni themselves.  Perhaps even surpass it.  

The Modroni listened impassively, and without any particular expression.  After a few moments they agreed to help.  Their reasons were simple enough.  First, their Leader had asked them to.  And second, she was correct in pointing out that Brain V could pose a potential threat to their operation and should be investigated.

And so they drew up a final plan in a few minutes.  The Modroni would take one of their two remaining ships and bring the heroes to the Nazi base where they would steal one of the UFOs.  They would then use a tractor beam to fly both ships at hyper speed to Earth, which would get them there before the Mechs and the AGV down on Earth could get to the Black Wind Facility.  Yes, that is 250,000 miles in a few minutes.  That's how fast the Modroni ships go, even with another ship in tow!   Once on Earth they would then split into two teams.  The Modroni would take their ship and infiltrate the Black Wind Facility to investigate and analyze Brain V, while our heroes would take the captured Nazi UFO to use against the Brain-Mechs, and rescue their friends in the AGV and "the Rhino".  It was decided that Ling would stay on the Moon in order to fulfill her obligation as Leader of the Modroni, and her friends would head to Earth with one of the Modroni to investigate Brain V.

There were still a couple of obstacles in the way, but overall it seemed like a reasonably good plan.  The first problem was that the Modroni could not possibly risk allowing anyone to leave the Moon with memories of their operations there, so every team member heading back to Earth would have to willingly subject themselves to a complete removal of all memories of the Modroni, down to the most minute detail.   Everyone agreed except Jacob who required some convincing.  He wanted to know why the Modroni were so intent on secrecy and what was so important about their mission.  So they showed him something that convinced him.  His mind was briefly transported to a scene on some planet towards the edge of the galaxy.  The heavens were filled with stars on one half of the sky, and frighteningly devoid of them on the other. Only a dreadful and eerie black void hung over that side of the universe.  It was dreadful to behold.  He found himself overlooking an ancient purple colored world devoid of life, covered by smoothed down iron mountains and methane seas.  A bright blue star blazed overhead.  Then from the blackest part of the sky a red flicker of light appeared. It was very tiny.  Almost imperceptible at first.  But where it touched the upper atmosphere it created a wave of effect that quickly became impossible not to notice.  Every molecule, no matter of what kind, that touched that red speck inverted in a way impossibly terrifying to behold, and transformed itself into the same bizarre substance as the red speck itself (which wasn't actually red at all, but cast a crimson glow around itself whenever it touched anything). These tiny particles would then shatter and scatter at the speed of light outward while everything that any of them touched would follow the same exact pattern.  Within a minute or so the entire planet had been consumed, shattered into microscopic red specks, and blasted out into space in a vast sphere travelling at light speed.  Jacob understood that anything any of those red specks touched would do the same.   And thus, the importance of the Modroni Mission was conveyed to his quivering mind.  He found himself with the others shaking and covered in sweat.  He agreed to the Memory Wipe along with the others.

The final obstacle to the plan was that their friends back on Earth happen to be in Thrall to Brain V, and would likely resist any attempt at being rescued.  This was a serious problem.  But there was no time to debate it.  They had to move and move fast.  They decided to address that on the way.  

And so, down to the dark unknown they were guided by Ling.  Far down a long wormlike tunnel under the surface of the moon they sped.  They came to a shaft that descended into the blackness.  At the bottom they came to a massive metal door that opened soundlessly at Ling's command.  Inside was a domed chamber about quarter mile in diameter.  Dim blue lights illuminated the rims of three massive disk shaped platforms hovering in the air at equal distances forming a massive aerial triangle.  There were two ships, each poised at the center of two of the platforms, while the remaining platform was empty.  They sped to one of the two ships and the Modroni opened the air locks and they entered.  The ships were so dark on the outside that the seemed to be composed of the blackness of space.  Nor, they understood from Ling, could anything detect these ships by any kind of radar or scan.  The Modrini ships were for all intents and purposes invisible to the universe.  They would blend perfectly into any environment, remaining completely invisible on every frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum. There invisibility was perfect.

At this point they were each given a Modroni Space Suit.  These were purplish hued translucent pods that when picked up in their hands began to grow up their arms, over their limbs and within a few moments covered their bodies completely.  Inside was maintained a comfortable temperature with a steady internally generated air supply.  The Modroni explained that the suits would protect them from the intense acceleration of the ship by creating an internal environment which would sustain them, and their bodily integrity during the journey.  These were no ordinary pressure suits.  They had been specifically designed for ultra-high acceleration space travel.  It would not, however, necessarily be entirely comfortable.  The suits, they were also informed, were in fact living creatures, and they were advised to be polite to them as they happen to be highly intelligent. It was likely that they would not accept rude or uncivilized behavior.  Ling told them that it might take about a month or so for the suits to be fully integrated with their personalities and become able to communicate with them telepathically.  During that time, should there be a personality conflict, however, the suits might wind up rejecting them.  So they should, she said, be as polite and civil as possible at all times. They all agreed, though Jacob found this idea a bit jarring.  Nevertheless, he felt that to get off the Moon and return to Earth was well worth whatever the cost might be.

And so they took off straight upwards through a shaft, which zig zagged its way to the surface, and upon exiting into the night sky through a hole in the bottom of a shadowed crater sped at unbelievable speed towards the north pole of the moon.  There ahead, within a moment, was Mare Frigoris, or "The Sea of Frost".  Within another moment, they arrived at Eishelm, which was the name that the Nazis had given their Fortress on the moon. Deep within a narrow ravine they flew. The Modroni ship cast a faint beam bluish light so that they could see.  There before them was a solid metal door of enormous size built into the canyon wall.  Had the Modroni not been studying the Nazis for decades it would have been entirely impossible to have detected that such a door existed, so dark are the shadows in the craters of the moon.  On the door was engraved a gigantic eagle holding the classic Nazi swastika in its talons.  There was, they saw, a narrow path along the floor of the canyon upon which the tracks of human boots could be seen.  They lead to the right side of the door, and there they saw a common keypad.  The kind you type a number sequence into.  Someone would have to go outside and type the numbers to open the door.  Fortunately, because the Modroni had spent decades carefully studying the Nazis, they knew all about them, their habits, their mental states, and of course, their security codes.

Bruin Hilda volunteered to go out, open the door, enter the base, and find a vessel to steal.  Since they knew the Nazi's so well, the Modroni were quite aware that this facility was scarcely being guarded since the three factions within the complex had been put so at odds (by the furtive manipulations of the Modroni) that normal operations had long since been disrupted.  Quite a few of the Nazis had died at each other's hands, and so personnel count had fallen quite low, and so only essential jobs could be performed.  As the Nazis believed there was absolutely no one on the moon except for themselves, the Modroni having carefully hidden their own existence entirely, they saw no particular need to guard the space fleet at the Haupteingang (Main Entrance).  After all, who could possibly attack the base from the outside?  They were far more concerned about attacks from within!

Bruin Hilda exited the ship through the airlock, and took a number of long loping steps towards the entrance during which she spent quite a bit of time off the ground.  She managed to get to the keypad and typed the code in.  Slowly but surely the gigantic door opened into a jet black hall.  She lit her Ray Gloves and saw that there were six rows of nine ships, all shaped like classic UFOs, with domed tops, and three small domes on the bottom side, all perched on tripod legs.  They were covered in dust about a quarter of an inch thick which suggested that they hadn't been used in quite some time.  She looked around carefully scanning the floor for footprints, and sure enough found a set.  She followed them to a ship on at the corner point of the rectangle farthest towards the interior of the hall.  This ship was not covered in dust, but in fact was quite clean, and looked like it had been used recently.  She reached out to touch the key pad that would open it.

At that moment red flashing lights began to whirl in several places around the hall, and she knew that her presence had been detected.  As a door opened on an interior wall flooding light into the vast dusty chamber, she danced her fingers over the keypad, gained access, and jumped inside as armored troops began flooding into the hall.  There were flashes of muzzle fire, and bullets began ricocheting off the hull of the ship with loud twangs.  The inside of the ship was an amazing collection of antiquated looking controls, glass vacuum tubes, curved brass bars, dials, knobs, levers and crank wheels. She grabbed the metal schematic plate that the Modroni pointed her to, and quickly acquainted herself with the ship's  layout and controls.  As a seasoned pilot herself, it wasn't too difficult for her to assess how the ship operated, though she had to translate the schema from German to do so.  But with Modroni's help she was able to do so with great efficiency, and within a few moments she had launched the vessel into the air.  Massive amounts of machine gun fire were being directed at her, ringing the ship with loud furious tangs, but to no avail.  She was perfectly safe inside the hull of that incredible war-machine.  She flew up and over the other ships, clipping one lightly, and glided silently out of the open entranceway, only bumping once against the door's massive frame inducing a bright shower of sparks.  She was free and out in the canyon.  Behind her German soldiers cursed vehemently as they fired upon the escaping ship, but she payed no heed.  She might have used the ship's weapons on them, but the weapons controls were an entirely separate matter and required another crew member to manage them. 

With the UFO safely outside the Modroni fastened their tractor beam to it, and off they flit with instant acceleration into the depths of space.  The jump to Hyper Speed was jolting to say the least, and every one of the crew were nauseated to the core.  But they were not splattered into pancakes, which was the important thing.  And so towards Earth they flit faster than any human had ever flit before.

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